Domotics : Smart Home and Home Automation


Domotics which comes from the Latin “Domus” meaning home, has been optimised by Smart Home concept is a place of residence that uses internet-connected devices to enable the remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems, such as lighting and heating.

New Trend in IoT

Smart home technology referred to as home automation provides homeowners security, comfort, convenience and energy efficiency. It can be done by allowing them to control smart devices, often by a smart home app on their smartphone or another networked device.
The part of the internet of things (IoT), intelligent home systems and methods operate together, sharing consumer usage data among themselves with automating actions based on the home dwellers preferences.

The origins of the Intelligent Home

Release of X10, in 1975, a communication protocol for home automation, the smart home, once a pipe dream a la The Jetsons, came to life. X10 sends 120 kHz radio frequency (R.F.) bursts of digital information onto a home’s existing electrical wiring to programmable outlets or switches.

The signals convey commands to corresponding devices, controlling how and when the devices operate. A transmitter could send a message along with the house’s electric wiring, telling a device to turn on at a specific time.

However, as electrical wiring is not designed to be mainly free from radio-band “noise,” X10 was not always entirely reliable. Signals would be lost, and signals wouldn’t cross circuits that were wired on different polarities. It is created when 220-volt service is split into a pair of 100-volt feeds which is common in the U.S.

X10 was initially a one-way technology. Smart devices can take commands. They can not send data back to a central network. Later, two-way X10 devices became available, at a higher cost.

Home Sweet Home

Home automation company Insteon came in 2005 and introduced automation technology that combined electric wiring with wireless signals. Zigbee and Z-Wave have emerged to counter the problems prone to X10. Though X10 widely remains installed communications company to this day.

Nest Labs, founded in 2010, released its first smart product, the Nest Learning Thermostat, in 2011. The company created security cameras and smart smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. It became a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., after being acquired by Google in 2015.

SmartThings Inc. launched a Kickstarter campaign, in 2012, raising $1.2 million to fund smart home system. After additional funding, in August 2013, the company came on the market and was taken over by Samsung in 2014. Recently Amazon, Apple and Google have released their smart home products and domotics platforms, including Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit and Google Home.

Smart Home Technologies Examples

  • Every sphere of life where technology has entered the domestic space from lightbulbs to dishwashers and so on, has seen the introduction of a smart home alternative:
  • Smart T.V.s connect to the internet to access content through applications, such as on-demand video and music. Smart T.V.s include gesture or voice recognition.
  • Smart lighting systems, like Hue from Philips Lighting Holding B.V., can detect when occupants are in the room and adjust lighting as needed, in addition to being able to be controlled remotely and customized. Intelligent lightbulbs can regulate based on daylight availability.
  • Smart thermostats, like Nest from Nest Labs Inc., come with integrated Wi-Fi, allowing users to monitor, schedule and control home temperatures remotely. Devices learn homeowners’ behaviours and modify settings automatically to provide residents with maximum efficiency and comfort. Smart thermostats can report energy use, and even, users are reminded to change filters.
  • Users can deny or grant access to visitors, using smart locks and garage door openers. Smart locks can detect when residents are near and automatically unlock the doors to receive them.
  • Residents can monitor their homes, with smart security cameras, when they are on vacations. Intelligent motion sensors can identify the difference between visitors, residents, pets and burglars. If suspicious behaviour is detected, they can notify authorities. Lawns and houseplants can be watered by way of connected timers. Pet care can be with connected feeders for automation.
  • Kitchen appliances are available, including smart coffee makers that can brew you a fresh cup as soon as your alarm goes off. Intelligent refrigerators can keep track of expiration dates make shopping lists and even create recipes based on ingredients currently on hand—slower toasters and cookers. In the laundry room, dryers and washing machines.
  • Household system monitors may sense an electric surge and turn off appliances. They can detect freezing pipes or water failures or turn off the water. It can prevent flood in your basement.

Pros and Cons Smart Home

  • Best and most touted benefits of home automation is providing peace of mind to homeowners, allowing them to monitor their homes remotely, countering dangers such as a forgotten coffee maker left on or a front door left unlocked.
  • Domotics is beneficial for the elderly. It provides monitoring that helps seniors to remain at home comfortably and safely. It assists in a nursing home or 24/7 home care.
  • Smart homes can accommodate preferences. As soon as you arrive home, the garage door will open, the lights will go on, the fireplace will roar, and your smart speakers will start playing on favourite tunes.
  • Smart automation helps consumers improve efficiency. A smart home system can remember your behaviours and make sure the house is cooled down by the time you arrive home from work instead of leaving the air conditioning on all day—the same applies on the appliances. Your lawn will be watered when needed and with the exact amount of water necessary with a smart irrigation system. With home automation, water energy, and resources are used efficiently, which helps save both natural resources and money for the consumer.
  • Home automation systems is still struggling to become mainstream due to technical nature. A drawback of smart homes is perceived complexity. People face difficulty with technology or will give up on it with the first annoyance. Smart home alliances and manufacturers are working on reducing complexity and improving the user experience to make it enjoyable and beneficial for users of all types and technical levels. There is still no world standard available for home automation as it is such a nascent market. However, standard technicians companies are partnering with manufacturers and companies to ensure interoperability and seamless user experience.
  • Hackers can infiltrate an intelligent device. They can potentially turn off the lights and alarms and unlock the doors, leaving home defenceless to a break-in. Hackers could access the homeowner’s behaviour and network, leading to worse attacks or data exfiltration.
  • Many intelligent home opponents worry about data privacy, in addition to security. The NTT Data reported that 73% of consumers are very much concerned about the privacy of the data shared by their smart home devices. The smart home device and platform manufacturers may collect consumer data to better tailor their products or offer new and improved services to customers. Transparency and trust are critical to manufacturers building trust with the users of their smart products.

How Smart Homes work and Home Implementation

Newly built homes are constructed with intelligent home infrastructure in place. Older homes can also be retrofitted with smart technologies. While smart home systems still run on X10 or Insteon, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have grown in popularity.

Z-Wave and Zigbee are two of the most commonly used home automation communications protocols in use today. Both mesh network technologies. They use low-power, short-range radio signals to connect smart home systems. Though both target the same intelligent home applications, with Zigbee, often perceived as the more complex of the two. Zigbee has a range of 10 meters to Z-Wave’s 30 meters.

A smart home is not different intelligent devices and appliances, but ones that work together to create a remotely controllable network. A master home automation controller controls all home devices, often called a smart home hub. An intelligent home hub is a hardware device that acts as the central point of the intelligent home system and can sense, process data and communicate wirelessly. It combines all of the different apps into a single, smart home app that can be controlled remotely by homeowners. These include Amazon Echo, Google Home, Insteon Hub Pro, Samsung SmartThings and Wink Hub, among others.

Intelligent home systems can be created from scratch, like using a Raspberry Pi or prototyping board. Others can be purchased as a bundled quick home kit — also known as a smart home platform — that contains the pieces needed to start a home automation project.

Smart home scenarios, events can be timed and monitored. Timed events are based on a clock, like, lowering the blinds at 6:00 p.m., while triggered activities depend on actions in the automated system; for example, when the owner’s smartphone approaches the door, the smart lock unlocks, and the intelligent lights go on.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) is becoming increasingly popular in smart home systems, allowing home automation applications to adapt to their environments. Voice-activated systems, such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, contain virtual assistants which personalize the smart home to the residents’ preferences and patterns.

Smart Building Architecture

While every smart home is an intelligent building, not every intelligent building is a smart home. Enterprise, industrial, commercial and residential buildings of all shapes and sizes, including offices, skyscrapers, apartment buildings, and multi-tenant offices and residences are deploying IoT technologies to improve building efficiency, reduce energy costs and environmental impact, and ensure security, as well as improve occupant satisfaction. Many of the same intelligent technologies used in the smart home are deployed in smart buildings, including lighting, energy, heating and air conditioning, and security and building access systems.

A smart building can reduce power costs using sensors to detect how many occupants are in a room. The temperature can automatically adjust, putting fresh air on if sensors detect a full conference room, or turning the heat down if everyone in the office has gone home for the day. Smart buildings can connect to the intelligent grid. Here, intelligent building components and the electric grid can “talk” and “listen” to each other. With smart technology, energy distribution can be managed efficiently, maintenance can be handled proactively, and power outages can be responded to more quickly.

Beyond the above benefits, a smart building can provide building owners and managers the benefit of predictive maintenance. Janitors such as can refill restroom supplies when usage sensors monitor the soap or paper towel dispensers are low. Or support and failures can be predicted on building refrigeration, elevators and lighting systems.

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